Morales has hammy strain, hopes to avoid DL

MRI shows no major structural damage for Blue Jays' designated hitter

Morales has hammy strain, hopes to avoid DL

TORONTO -- Kendrys Morales has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain in his left hamstring, but the Blue Jays are hopeful he will be able to avoid a stint on the disabled list.

Morales underwent an MRI Wednesday morning after he was removed during the seventh inning of a 6-0 loss Tuesday because of hamstring tightness. The exam ruled out major structural damage and he is listed as day to day, but the timetable for a return remains uncertain.

Toronto intends to wait until Thursday or Friday to see how Morales' hamstring improves. If everything goes well, the Blue Jays will be able to avoid a roster move, but backup plans will have to be in place because nobody can say for sure what the outcome will be.

"We're going to try maybe a day or two, see if we can get him through without having to put him on [the DL]," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We'll get a better idea tomorrow, but hopefully we can dodge it where he doesn't have to go on for the 10 days. So I guess that's good news."

Morales was not available for Wednesday night's series finale vs. Cleveland, and he joins a long list of Toronto's walking wounded. The Blue Jays also are without the services of Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin and J.A. Happ, but Aaron Sanchez is expected to return Sunday vs. Seattle while Troy Tulowitzki should be back next week.

The 33-year-old Morales is still at risk of hitting the disabled list for the first time since a serious leg injury cost him most of the 2010 season and all of '11. Morales has appeared in at least 134 games during each of the last five years with the exception of 2014, when he did not sign until after the regular season started.

Tulo to begin rehab Saturday
Tulowitzki is tentatively scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Dunedin on Saturday. He will then receive the day off on Sunday before playing Monday and Tuesday in the Minor Leagues. That would put him in a position to rejoin the Blue Jays on Wednesday in Atlanta.

Toronto has been without Tulowitzki since April 21 because of a strained right hamstring. He has been regularly taking part in batting practice and light fielding drills and now appears to be close to finalizing his return to the field.

"It's tentative, but the plan is he would go down to Florida and play on Saturday. Sunday they don't have anything going on down there," Gibbons said. "He'd play Monday and Tuesday and then meet us in Atlanta. That's the plan as of today, if all goes well."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.